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How Many U.S. Jobs Might Be Offshorable?

  • Alan S. Blinder

    (Princeton University)

Using detailed information on the nature of work done in over 800 BLS occupational codes, this paper ranks those occupations according to how easy/hard it is to offshore the work— either physically or electronically. Using that ranking, I estimate that somewhere between 22% and 29% of all U.S. jobs are or will be potentially offshorable within a decade or two. (I make no estimate of how many jobs will actually be offshored.) Since my rankings are subjective, two alternatives are presented—one is entirely objective, the other is an independent subjective ranking. It is found that there is little or no correlation between an occupation’s “offshorability” and the skill level of its workers (as measured either by educational attainment or wages). However, it appears that, controlling for education, the most highly offshorable occupations were already paying significantly lower wages in 2004.

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File URL: http://www.princeton.edu/ceps/workingpapers/142blinder.pdf
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 60.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:142blinder
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  1. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. N. Gregory Mankiw & Phillip Swagel, 2006. "The Politics and Economics of Offshore Outsourcing," NBER Working Papers 12398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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